Marine turtles return to Mon Repos beach every summer to breed, but in winter and spring, Mon Repos beach lies quietly in wait for the next turtle season. During this time (May to September), there are many reasons to visit Mon Repos. Think: peaceful beach, fascinating rockpools, scenic coastal tracks for walkers and cyclists, and, of course, the fabulous Turtle Centre. Here you can learn about the special journey turtles make and the people who have helped them along the way. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
1. Turn turtle
You’ve just arrived at Mon Repos, so what comes first? That’s turt-ally easy! Call into the Mon Repos Turtle Centre for a totally ‘bodacious’ turtle experience. Find out why Mon Repos is so special (hint: it’s largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on eastern Australian mainland!), learn some ‘gnarly’ turtle facts, and find out why they’re endangered and how they’re being protected. Delve into the lives of marine turtles, researchers and Rangers in ‘Turtle Tales’—exciting immersive theatre and interactive displays.
The Turtle Centre currently operates under a COVID safety plan, which requires bookings, limits visitor numbers, and includes social distancing and good hygiene. Cowabunga, dude!
2. Hit the beach
There are beaches and there are beaches, and Mon Repos is a great beach for walking, strolling or simply gazing out to sea. If you’re a family with kids, it’s also a great spot for building a sandcastle, flying a kite or fossicking along the strand line.
Be ‘turtle-friendly’ and remember this beach is a nursery for turtles so tread lightly and keep off the fragile dunes to protect them from erosion.
At the northern end of Mon Repos beach, explore the rock pools at low tide. Discover colourful corals, crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers and other intriguing rock pool residents. You can look into their world but you don’t need to get wet to see them! Just remember—look but don’t touch!
3. Bike the Turtle trail
Explore the spectacular Woongarra coastline between Bargara and Burnett Heads on 2 wheels. No need for Lycra here! This 2km trail within the park is part of the longer 7.7km Bundaberg Regional Council Turtle trail and boasts a wide, sealed track suitable for all types of wheels (and abilities)!
Take your time as you pedal along, flanked by coastal forests on one side and pristine beach on the other; make sure you stop to enjoy the views, and keep an eye out for whales between late June and early October!
No bike? No worries! Hire a bike at Bargara.
4. Connect with history
How about a coastal amble? The Mon Repos coastal track is perfect for history buffs and beach lovers alike! This scenic coastal walk offers tantalising glimpses of South Sea Islander and Australian history.
Walking south from the Turtle Centre, at very low tide, you may be lucky to see traces of the telegraph cable that, in 1893, first connected Australia with French New Caledonia and, from there, the rest of the world for the next 30 years.
And, if you wondered … the name Mon Repos also has a French connection. In 1884, sugar pioneer Augustus Barton built his house just behind today’s park, named ‘Mon Repos’, which is French for ‘my rest’.
The French connection isn’t the only foreign influence in the area. A little further down the beach you’ll come across the South Sea Islander rock wall, which provides insight to the early sugar industry. In the early 1880s, islanders cleared rocks from nearby cane fields and built this 1.6km long rock wall ... by hand!
Now return to the Turtle Centre and walk a little way north along the Turtle trail. In the sand dunes behind the beach, Bert Hinkler, the early Australian aviator, made his first successful glider flight, right here in Mon Repos! Bert’s glider only climbed to 10m above the dunes, but it launched him on a runway to fame. Just 3 years later he went on to make the first solo flight from England to Australia in 1928 across the south Atlantic. How much has changed in over a century—we now have jets, frequent flyer points and test flights into space!
5. Care for country
Whether you’re walking along the beach on the Mon Repos coastal track, taking a bike ride along the Turtle trail, or exploring rock pools, pause for a moment to consider the First Nations people who have lived here for many thousands of years—the Taribelang Bunda, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, and Byellee peoples.
First Nations people have a deep spiritual connection to the land and sea Country around Mon Repos. Their identity is tied to caring for places on land and sea Country and being actively involved in looking after animals and plants on Country. Their ancestors have hunted and fished in this sea Country since time immemorial and there are important cultural sites that they cherish at Mon Repos.
For First Nations peoples, Mon Repos is a special place. Make sure you visit respectfully during your visit.
Ready to create magical memories?
Mon Repos outside of turtle season is well worth a visit! Mon Repos Turtle Centre has an approved COVID-safe plan to ensure you have a safe visitor experience.